Associate Board

WHEDco’s Associate Board is a growing group of young professionals in their 20s and 30s who are passionate about WHEDco’s mission to create thriving neighborhoods for families in the South Bronx, the nation’s poorest urban Congressional District.

The Associate Board supports this mission through a number of volunteer and fundraising projects around WHEDco’s work in areas including: education and youth development; urban farming and healthy living; commercial revitalization and small business development; and arts programming.

The Associate Board plays a strategic role in developing awareness of WHEDco’s programs, and providing opportunities for WHEDco’s growth by leveraging social media, events, and individual fundraising to support overall goals. Associate Board members have opportunities to create, plan and participate in service activities (volunteer days, volunteer drives, awareness campaigns, etc.); help plan and host fundraising events (happy hours, crowd-funding campaigns, etc.); and interact with WHEDco staff and Board of Directors. Learn more about the Roles & Responsibilities.

New candidates are typically recruited in the spring of each year, depending on annual turn-over and availability of open seats.

Subscribe to WHEDco’s e-list and follow us on Facebook to receive updates from the Associate Board!

Contact Meredith Leverich at or 718.839.1157 for more information.

Current Associate Board Members

Danielle Ash

Danielle is a partner in the Real Estate Department of the law firm of Duval & Stachenfeld LLP. In her role, she represents a diverse group of real estate developers, family offices, equity funds, mortgage and mezzanine lenders in a wide variety of commercial real estate transactions in New York and throughout the United States. She is also a member of the New York City Bar Committee on Housing and Urban Development, which addresses legal and policy issues on affordable housing preservation and development in New York City. She received her J.D. from New York Law School, where she was a scholar in the school’s Center for Real Estate Studies and her Bachelor’s from Columbia University in the City of New York, where she majored in Urban Studies. She is a life-long New Yorker – born and raised on the Upper West Side, where she still resides.

Bret Collazzi

Bret is a Principal at HR&A Advisors, Inc., where he advises governments, nonprofit institutions, and private property owners on transformative urban development strategies, including growing local tech and innovation economies. At HR&A, he has worked with a broad mix of clients, managing NYC BigApps, the world’s largest civic tech completion; developing a real estate strategy for The New York Public Library; and guiding investment strategies for the Lower Concourse neighborhood and the Hunts Point Cooperative Market, both in the Bronx. Prior to HR&A, Bret was deputy chief of staff to New York City Council Member James Vacca, where he oversaw policy and communications, and was managing editor of the Bronx Times Reporter, the Bronx’s largest-circulating newspaper. He holds an M.B.A. from Cornell University’s Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management and a B.A. in Journalism from New York University. He is a native of the Country Club section of the Bronx.

Latchmi Gopal

Latchmi Gopal is a campaign strategist who focuses on electoral based issue campaigns. She is currently the Director of Communications and Strategic Partnerships at Unemployed Workers United, (UWU), and specializes in community organizing, coalition development, electoral and grassroots training, and fundraising strategies. She is a first generation Guyanese- American, Bronx Native, and the eldest daughter of immigrants who taught her how to invest in community and fight for justice. She began centering economic liberation as a necessary aspect of all her campaigns after working at Demos, a national public policy think tank that focuses on issues such as raising the minimum wage and reducing student debt. She was previously on the national leadership team with By The People, a movement holding the presidential administration accountable by building local support throughout the country to call for the impeachment and removal of Trump. Most recently, as the National Distributed Organizer for the Bernie 2020 Presidential Campaign, she created and executed a national canvassing program to mobilize thousands to vote and participate politically.

Latchmi graduated from Boston University with a degree in Political Science and Public Health. Latchmi prioritizes creating spaces that are full of people power and elevating stories that are too often silenced in order to encourage civic engagement and personal healing to create a more equitable and just world.

Erika Hval

John F. Kenny

John Kenny is a Vice President in Citizenship at Barclays where he leads on initiatives aimed at driving social impact. John oversees Barclays’ volunteer programs in the Americas and identifies ways to leverage Barclays human capital in order to maximize the firm’s impact. Before joining the Citizenship team John worked in Finance at Barclays, including roles in regulatory reporting and the commodities group. In 2013, John founded and organized a seven day, 130 mile walk from Brooklyn to Montauk for three consecutive years to raise funds and awareness for the Developmental Disabilities Institute, a nonprofit serving children and adults through educational, medical and housing services. John received his BS, summa cum laude, from St. John’s University, where he graduated first in his class in the Tobin College of Business. John majored in Finance and minored in Spanish and International Studies.

Danielle Nicholson

Michael Paranac

Michael has been a volunteer tutor with the WHEDco Teen Program since 2013, specifically helping high school students with homework, test preparation, and all aspects of the college admissions process. He currently works in real estate development after several years in finance. He is also an active supporter of StrikeOUT Cystic Fibrosis and previously volunteered with the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital at New York Presbyterian. He graduated from Columbia University with a B.A. in History, and is pursuing an MBA at Columbia Business School.

Martha Perez-Pedemonti

Anthony Ramirez II

Anthony Ramirez II is the Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Mainland Media. Anthony grew up in the Parkchester section of The Bronx. After graduating with a BA in Economics from Columbia University, he moved back to The Bronx to administer after school programs for The South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation’s (SoBRO) Youth Development Center. Most recently, he worked with The NYC Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) as the Director of Youth Connect, a highly-acclaimed information & referral service which connects youth and families to services throughout the City, and managed the agencies digital outreach. Anthony co-founded Mainland Media and its subsidiary From The Bronx in March 2006 with a mission to help improve the image of the Bronx, New York and to prove to the world that the Bronx is as rich with culture and history as any other place in the world. Mainland Media opened The Bronx Beer Hall in February 2013 to further its mission.

Paul Ramirez

Paul Ramirez is a Managing Partner with Mainland Media. Paul was born and raised in the Parkchester section of The Bronx. He received his BA in Philosophy with a specialization in Ethics and Public Policy, and a BS in Music from The Bronx’s own Lehman College. Shortly after graduation, Paul worked as the Deputy Director of Wildcat Service Corporation’s Young Adult Internship Program (YAIP).YAIP provides young adults with 14 weeks of paid orientation, training and work followed by 9 months of follow-up services and assistance for placement in permanent jobs, training programs and educational opportunities. While working as the Deputy Director of YAIP, Paul also managed several Bronx-based musical acts, including The Steven Oquendo Latin Jazz Orchestra. Paul joined Mainland Media and its subsidiary From The Bronx in June 2010, and opened The Bronx Beer Hall in February 2013.

Emerita Torres

Emerita is a political advisor at the U.S Mission to the United Nations, where she works on counterterrorism and human rights issues in the UN Security Council. Emerita has nearly a decade of international affairs experience as a U.S. Foreign Service Officer, working in political, economic, labor, and multilateral positions, and has served in South and Southeast Asia, Latin America and Africa. Emerita received her Master’s in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School. While at Harvard, she was the co-Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy, volunteered for the Barack Obama presidential campaign, and was a teaching fellow for a community organizing course, which inspired her to become an organizer and train others on how to build community power through organizing. Emerita received her undergraduate degree in history from New York University. Emerita is originally from the Castle Hill/Soundview area of the Bronx. She is passionate about health and wellness; Emerita is a certified group fitness instructor, a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioner, and has led nutrition workshops in her community.


Associate Board Alumni

Digser Abreu

Vedan Anthony-North

Lovie Arthur

Jesse Baumgartner

Becca Broches

Kaitlyn Cawley

Ally Fermin

Kate Gallagher

Triveni Gandhi

Roger Gill

Scott Harris

Daniel Lipschutz

Dre Manning

Mary Paranac

Cristian Ramos

Kimberly Thibault